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Marking the start of a new era of celebrity-worship, this program spotlighted the eccentricities and excesses of a different member of the "rich and famous" each week. Special attention was always given to the prices paid for the various luxuries with which the upper crust enhanced their daily lives, ranging from spacious seaside villas, to classic cars, to gold-plated bathroom fixtures. Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <email@example.com>
Excess, Waste, and Overconsumption vs. Poverty, Survival, and Uncertainty
In a time of abject poverty, job losses, a perception that the gap between the rich and poor continues to widen, homelessness, etc., this show represents, in the opinion of many, the epitome of fluff, prodigality, and a lack of concern for those who struggle to obtain the most basic of necessities needed for survival.
One of the show's premises was this: We see the plush lives of the rich and famous, whether they are athletes, entertainers, or big-business moguls. We see their lavish homes, big-screen TV's, overpriced yachts, private jets, and fancy office spaces. Here are a few other examples of the excess that we see while we are `admiring' their lives:
1. A fancy painting hung up on the wall of some socialite- The painting was done in the 1800's, and has a value of $5,000,000.00. There are inner-city communities in the U.S. that are so blighted, the entire neighborhood isn't worth that much. Think of how many hungry children can be fed with that kind of money. However, this `filthy-rich' person can blow that money on a painting.
2. Exquisite chandelier in the dining room- Sometimes, it costs more than what I paid for my car!
3. Gold bathroom fixtures- These fixtures cost more than the average working person makes in a year.
4. Fleet of automobiles- Some have more cars than some car-rental businesses. They have more cars than they can ever drive. This is in addition to their Rolls-Royces and Lamborghinis.
5. Fifty-room homes- Some have houses with 5 bathrooms and 10 bedrooms. Some of them have rooms in their homes than they don't use.
And so on, and so on.This show was the predecessor to shows like `The Crib' on MTV or `How I'm Livin' on BET.
In addition to this, we see more fatuousness. We see that `weasel', Robin Leach, suck up to these people, engaging in meaningless conversation while they sip champagne and eat imported cheese. However, this `conversation' is supposed to provide insight into how they became so rich. Watching Robin leach trying to conversate with these people was nauseating, as well as annoying.
For those who cannot afford this lifestyle, are they supposed to look at this `opulence' and be happy for them because they cannot live like this? Life should have more meaning than a swimming pool in your backyard, custom-made Porsche, or exotic vacations to places many have never heard of. There is nothing wrong with having money, and enjoying it. However, these people live to the point of ridiculous excess.
To those who have left-wing political views, this show represents the sad reality of what's going on around the world: extreme inequity in distribution of resources, and extreme overconsumption. To right-wingers who read this, they may view me as bitter or jealous, because I don't have `money to burn'.
However, the show was about more than profiling rich celebrities: it profiled many upscale entities around the world: high-end hotels, spas, and resorts; wealthy enclaves, suburbs, and other neighborhoods; five-star restaurants along with its exquisite cuisine. All this was to show how you can live when you have money. This segment provided information, when a family wants to plan a vacation and experience the good life, if only for a little while.
The show did have good points. Firstly, the opening theme music by Bill Conti was fantastic!! If you can get it on CD, it would be worth the buy. Bill Conti composed theme songs for other TV series such as: `Cagney and Lacey', `Falcon Crest', and `Dynasty', as well as overseeing musical scores for movies such as Rocky and the Karate Kid. The music was great. The other good point was the voiceover work of the late David Perry, when narrating the introductions and the profiling segments not involving the celebrities. His voice was cool and suave.
Nowadays, this kind of show would not be `politically correct' in a time of so much economic uncertainty. This show supports the philosophy that living a modest lifestyle is better than the lifestyle of extravagance.
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